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Edmund Wilson: Centennial Reflections

A set of 21 essays, memoirs, and roundtable transcripts comforting the start centennial of author Edmund Wilson. Amon the participants are Jason and Barbara Epstein, Elizabeth Hardwick, Sean Wilentz, Louis Menand, and David Remnick. The e-book is edited and with contributions via Wilson biographer Lewis Dabney.

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Edmund Wilson: Centennial Reflections

A suite of 21 essays, memoirs, and roundtable transcripts comforting the start centennial of author Edmund Wilson. Amon the individuals are Jason and Barbara Epstein, Elizabeth Hardwick, Sean Wilentz, Louis Menand, and David Remnick. The booklet is edited and with contributions by way of Wilson biographer Lewis Dabney.

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Eliot’s self, however, is surrendered, Shem’s secreted. Shirking sacrifice, his personality only appears to be extinguished, darkly concealing body and self beneath the cloak of the cloacal. His writing projects onto and into his being, generating a new bleak personality, and a bleak world view. Writing with excrement seems infantile or perverse, but it may be the last resort of a prisoner forbidden use of pen and paper, as Shem has been. ⁹ These last measures despite their desperation may seem disgusting, but Shem according ⁶ See Note on the Transcriptions, p.

Shem and Shaun have one early origin in Cain and Abel. ³ Cain, the primal murderer, may be the primal villain in Genesis but in Finnegans Wake Joyce retells the story, inviting us to invert our sympathies. Shaun has consistently been viewed by critics as more suspect—a braggart, a bully, and a hypocritical sentimentalist—with Shem being the revolutionary artist anti-hero, the outcast with whom we commiserate. John Bishop reads Shem as the unconscious, the producer of dreams that trouble ¹ To Weaver, 16 Jan.

Eliot propounded just five years earlier in his famous essay ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’. And he may be on Joyce’s mind because just two or three months before Joyce wrote this passage, Eliot had written a glowing, if solemn, review of Ulysses. He was a supporter then but also a rival, since The Waste Land had stormed the literary world shortly after Ulysses came out. In his ‘Tradition’ essay, published in the same periodical where Joyce published A Portrait of the Artist and chapters of Ulysses, Eliot famously wrote that ‘Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality.

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